St. Claude de la Colombiere was a 17th century Jesuit whose life we recall today. He believed that one of "the most firmly established and consoling of the truths that have been revealed to us" is "that (apart from sin) nothing happens to us in life unless God wills it so." St. Claude became the spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. He encouraged, supported and promoted her call to spread devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The saint was also a gifted spiritual writer, who has left a number of gems, including one of my favorite books, Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence (TSTDP). Blessed John Paul II canonized him in 1992.
Read and ponder what he has to say about earthly happiness and prayer:
Let me show you a good way to ask for happiness, even in this world. It is a way that will oblige God to listen to you. Say to Him earnestly: either give me so much money that my heart will be satisfied, or inspire me with such contempt for it that I no longer want it. Either free me from poverty, or make it so pleasant for me that I would not exchange it for all the wealth in the world. Either take away my suffering, or – which would be to Your greater glory – change it into delight for me, and instead of causing me affliction, let it become a source of joy. You can take away the burden of my cross, or You can leave it with me without my feeling its weight. You can extinguish the fire that burns me, or You can let it burn in such a way that it refreshes me as it did the three youths in the fiery furnace. I ask for either one thing or the other. What does it matter in what way I am happy? If I am happy through the possession of worldly goods, it is You I have to thank. If I am happy when deprived of them, it gives You greater glory and my thanks are all the greater.
This is the kind of prayer worthy of being offered to God by a true Christian. When you pray in this way, do you know what the effect of your prayers will be? First, you will be satisfied, whatever happens; and what else do those who most desire this world's goods want except to be satisfied? Secondly, you will not only obtain without fail, one of the two things you have asked for, but, as a rule, you will obtain both of them. – TSTDP (122-124)
You will find more of his wisdom and that of countless Popes, Bishops, priests, saints and regular folk in my recently released book, Forgotten Truths To Set Faith Afire! Words to Challenge, Inspire and Instruct, about which EWTN hostess and well-known, author Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle, had this to say: "I am very impressed with this book and the author's commitment to writing about the Catholic Faith in a very informational and inspirational manner. I have no doubt that this book will help others on their Faith journeys."